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Carroll Fife Helped Moms4Housing Win on Housing, Now She’s Looking to Win over District 3 

Michelle Snider

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A campaign launching caravan called the People’s Procession made its way through West Oakland neighborhoods on Saturday, July 18 to officially announce Carroll Fife’s candidacy for City Council District 3. 

Greeted by a group of motorcyclists at Defremery Park waiting for the procession’s arrival at the final destination, the caravan worked its way around the park with signs of support while one vehicle played a message from Fife over a loudspeaker.

“Are you tired of waiting for progressive action from City Council? Are you sick of begging your elected leaders to house those without shelter, end police violence, and protect working-class families from gentrification and displacement? So am I,” was the message broadcast in a continual loop.

Once the procession stopped at the entrance of the park, Fife exited her vehicle to stand on the flatbed of a truck with speakers for a final speech for the day. Starting with a request to talk to community members to find solutions, Fife said, “I want to know what you all think, how should we govern out of City Hall, what should it look like?”

Known for being the mastermind behind Moms4Housing, where four unhoused women attempted to take over a house owned by an absentee, corporate landlord, Fife is the regional director of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). She is also a mother and a long time advocate. 

According to creatingfreedommovements.org, she served as a co-founder and co-chair of the Oakland Alliance, Oakland Justice Coalition, and the Community Ready Corps working to create racial justice, increase access to quality jobs, housing, and education. Fife founded Black Women in Elected Leadership PAC and became an elected member of the Oakland NAACP’s Executive Committee. 

Fife expressed her own experience living in Oakland for over two decades witnessing the changes the city has undergone, understanding the connectivity of struggles, saying legislation should come from a place of love and compassion for everyone.

“We are in a moment in time when each one of us is so critical in the fight,” Fife said. Mentioning the recent street mural at Lake Merritt that is painted with the words  “All Black trans queer nonbinary women disabled imprisoned lives matter” Fife said, “why that is important is because we are the canaries in the coal mine.”

Citing the current situation in Portland, OR, where white protesters protesting for BLM are being taken off the streets in unmarked vans by federal officers, Fife said if there had been an outcry for Black lives in recent history then situations like these would not have gone so far. “The canaries have been a signal for what is to happen to all of us inside of a state where we don’t matter. When someone’s life doesn’t matter, then anything can be done to them and it be justified,” Fife said.

Fife said it’s in the same manner homelessness can be justified because their lives don’t matter to so many people. “It’s time to change that,” Fife said. “There are folks who are going on strike, there are workers who are begging for just common decency in pay and working conditions.” 

“There are teachers who cannot afford to live in the cities where they teach,” she said. “And now we are talking about re-opening them [schools] inside of a pandemic? It’s because the children who go to Oakland public schools’ lives don’t matter to someone. We have got to unite and change that.”

Fife said she also wants to hear

from the community on what they want for the Oakland A’s baseball team and its proposal to locate at the Howard Terminal in West Oakland.

“City Council is not the magic bullet,” she said. “This system is rotten from its core…we may just need to tear it down, perhaps. Or extract every piece, grain, iota of worth that we can extract from this position.” 

To contact Fife’s campaign go to https://www.carrollfife.org/.

 

 

 

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Unanswered Questions Over Costs of Proposed Howard Terminal Ballpark

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There is growing public scrutiny of the deal the Oakland A’s are offering to the city in a proposal, released the end of April, to “privately fund” the building of a $1 billion ballpark and a massive $12 billon real estate development, almost a city within a city, on the waterfront at Howard Terminal and Jack London Square in downtown Oakland. 

 

     The Oakland A’s “term sheet,” released on April 23 and available at www.mlb.com/athletics/oakland-ballpark/community-report, proposes a construction project that, in addition to a 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark, would feature 3,000 units of mostly market rate housing, a hotel, an indoor performance center and 1.5 million square feet of offices and 270,000 square feet of retail space, as well as a gondola to transport fans over the I-880 freeway.

 

     Many of the details of the proposal are vague,  and there are many unanswered questions about how much this project will cost Oakland taxpayers and what benefits the city would ultimately see. 

 

     Among those who raised questions was Mike Jacob, vice president and general counsel of Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, an opponent of moving the A’s to Howard Terminal.

 

     “I think it’s hard to say what’s going on. They haven’t made it plain what they’re asking for and what they’re proposing,” Jacob said in an interview with the Oakland Post. 

 

    The A’s term sheet proposes a cost of $955 million for infrastructure and $450 million that will be utilized for community benefits, but that funding would be paid by taxpayers, presumably with a bond, he said. 

 

    “It is unclear whether (the funding) is underwritten by the bond, whether it is backed by general fund money and pretty unclear what the scope for the infrastructure really is,” said Jacob. 

 

   Do infrastructure costs include toxic waste cleanup at the site, which would be considerable, the cost of the gondola, multiple safe railway crossings for pedestrians and cars and any required construction if the Port of Oakland shipping is impacted? He asked.

 

    In addition, not only would taxpayers pay the millions of dollars in community benefits they would supposedly receive for various types of services and other projects, the money would be spread over a 45-year period. 

 

    To help fund the project, the A’s propose the city create a tax district for property owners along 1.5 miles near downtown Oakland to help pay for city services and infrastructure to serve the development. 

 

    The A’s also have said in their literature that the project would generate 6,000 jobs but are short of details about what that promise means. According to a letter to a state agency in August 2019, many of the estimated 6,667 would be jobs at offices in the development, in effect counting as new jobs any existing Oakland businesses that lease space in one of the new office buildings. 

 

    For their part, the A’s are pushing the City Council to approve their deal before the council recesses for its July break. 

 

    “We are really excited to get that (the term sheet) out there, and we are even more excited to get this to the City Council to vote this summer,” Dave Kaval, A’s president, told the San Francisco Chronicle. 

 

    While Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has thrown the weight of her office behind the deal, she is expressing some reservations after the term sheet was released and community opposition to the Howard Terminal project has continued to grow. 

 

    In a comment to the Chronicle, Schaaf spokesperson Justin Berton said: 

 

    “Our goals for the project are unchanged: We want to keep the A’s in Oakland – forever. We need a deal that’s good not just for the A’s, but for the City, one that provides specific, tangible, and equitable benefits to our residents and doesn’t leave Oakland’s taxpayers on the hook.”

 

    “The A’s contend that the growth in tax revenues attributed to their project will be sufficient to fully fund those investments and that they will benefit the entire community, (and) the city is critically examining these claims,” said Berton in the East Bay Times. 

 

    The impact of the decision on the A’s proposal could be huge for Oakland, noted Berton. “The commitments requested by the A’s would pre-determine the use of a substantial portion of tax revenue from this part of the city for years to come,” he told the East Bay Times.  

 

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Bay Area

Women’s Cancer Resource Center Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Founded in 1986, WCRC’s mission has been to improve the quality of life for women with cancer and advance equity in cancer support, especially for low-income persons, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Nearly 80% of WCRC’s clients live below the federal poverty level, and 70% of them identify as people of color.

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The Bay Area is full of “best-kept secrets.” The Women’s Cancer Resource Center is one of them. Tucked away in an unassuming building in a residential neighborhood in Berkeley, the Center serves more than 2,000 people with cancer and their loved ones every year.

They’ve been doing this for three and a half decades.

The Women’s Cancer Resource Center is celebrating its 35thanniversary at an online event on May 13. Visit www.wcrc.org/unite for more information and to register. If you or a loved one is facing cancer, please reach out to WCRC for assistance. 510-601-4040, www.wcrc.org or info@wcrc.org.

Founded in 1986, WCRC’s mission has been to improve the quality of life for women with cancer and advance equity in cancer support, especially for low-income persons, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Nearly 80% of WCRC’s clients live below the federal poverty level, and 70% of them identify as people of color.

WCRC staff have long observed that cancer often is not the greatest concern for the low-income and marginalized individuals in its client population. Limited access to primary health care, inadequate health services and financial resources, language and cultural barriers, racism, low literacy, fear, and mistrust of medical systems contribute to late diagnosis and earlier death, especially for African American, Latinx, and all other groups of low-income women diagnosed with cancer.

WCRC provides a set of comprehensive, coordinated services to mitigate these problems for people with limited access to essential, life-giving care. Free services include psychotherapy, support groups, art and wellness classes, community-based cancer patient navigation, and information and referral to community resources. These services increase adherence to cancer treatment and advance self-empowerment and care, improving quality of life and treatment outcomes.

But most of all, WCRC provides a place of refuge. Anyone who comes through the Center’s doors will feel safe, connected, and seen. The Center was able to extend this feeling of community even during the pandemic, transitioning its direct services to phone and Zoom.

One client for whom WCRC has made a huge difference is Ms. Arenoso.

She couldn’t trust anyone. Ms. Arenoso has been on her own since the age of sixteen. The trauma of her early life and experience of homelessness made it hard to trust others and feel safe.

She learned that self-reliance isn’t always the answer. In 2019, Ms. Arenoso was diagnosed with cancer. A few months into her treatment, which affected her ability to think clearly, she realized that she needed to be around other people who had cancer, andshe was referred to WCRC.

She was able to start to relax and receive support. Ms. Arenoso felt an instant connection with WCRC staff, who took the time to get to know her and tailor WCRC’s services to her needs. Her navigator helped her fill out housing and financial support paperwork and apply for emergency funding, which granted her enough money to cover three months of rent. WCRC also provides her with practical and emotional support, which she especially appreciates during the pandemic.

She found a home away from home, where she could truly be herself. Describing a visit to WCRC last year, Ms. Arenoso observed, “Your center was welcoming and beautiful. Everyone was so kind, and no one was rude. I felt that they loved me for me.”

As her heart healed, she was inspired to practice generosity. Ms. Arenoso wants to give back. “I used to be very angry,” she said. “WCRC helped me become more kind and compassionate.” She now collects toiletries to provide to people who are homeless and shares cancer resources with her neighbors to ensure that people understand the importance of cancer screenings. “I don’t know what I would have done without WCRC,” she said.

If you or a loved one is facing cancer, please reach out to the Women’s Cancer Resource Center for assistance. 510-601-4040, www.wcrc.org or info@wcrc.org.

 

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Bay Area

Good Day Cafe

Good Day Cafe is a black-owned business located in Vallejo,Ca

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 Good Day Cafe is a Black-owned cafe  located at 304 Georgia St. in Vallejo. Their hours are from 7:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Good Day Cafe serves Southern-style breakfast and lunch meals. They offer online orders, dine in, and delivery. Visit their website to learn more information https://gooddaycafevallejo.com/ and follow their instagram @gooddaycafevallejo

 

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